USA: Havana Club petitions Supreme Court in latest twist to Bacardi Battle

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Havana Club Holding (HCH), which owns the Havana Club brand of Cuban rum, has submitted a petition to the Supreme Court of the United States over its decision in February to rule in favour of Bacardi-Martini, in the dispute over the trademark Havana Club.

The Supreme Court dismissed claims by HCH, the joint venture between Pernod Ricard and the Cuban state, over the rights to the trademark. In doing so it upheld claims by Bacardi-Martini and the Arechabala family that the family were the original owners of the brand and had their business confiscated by the Castro regime.

According to HCH it is "seeking to prevent a takeover of its trademark in the US and the deception of the American consumer resulting from the sale by Bacardi of a non-Cuban rum labeled as 'Havana Club.'"

The company went on to say: "The petition to the Court is motivated by the fact that fundamental questions of law - notably whether the provisions of a subsequent domestic law can abrogate retroactively obligations resulting from international treaties - are at the heart of the dispute."

The courts in the US have so far sided with Bacardi three times, in a dispute that has lasted six years now.

The decision of the Court on whether to accept for review the petition by HCH will be announced at the beginning of October. However the Supreme Court annually reviews around 6,000 petitions and accepts for review only about 100 of these.

Chris Brook-Carter

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